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The Armada (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 53 - The Armada[]

Unity City
Sol Star System Star System
Wolf Empire

"What the hell were you thinking??

"No, wait, you weren't thinking." a shadowy form scolded from the end of the hospital bed.  "Ten trials in quick succession...oh, you're not paying attention, right."  An experience like being dragged across live power cables coursed through her, and everything around her became clarified in sharp relief.

"You know, I am very disappointed."  the shadowy form wasn't indistinct anymore.  Elizabeth Ngo limped around the bed, clad in her characteristic black suit with crisp, white blouse.  "One of my great grandchildren having such absolute crap judgement-very disappointing...let's walk."

"i'm..." karen began say...

"You're not dead, dipshit. Though given the condition your corpse is in, you probably ought to be. Let's go outside."

Karen was standing in the parade field at Giap Island, mid-summer.  "Isn't this better?" Elizabeth asked, "We've got sunshine, fresh green grass, smell of the sea? I like this setting for near-death experiences, it's peaceful."

"Near death?"

"I told you you're not dead...yet. The shape you're in thins the walls a little,  but really. Kid, what were you trying to prove up there?  Morgan Icaza wouldn't have agreed to ten successive bouts scant recovery and televised. Nathan wouldn't have let the bastards talk him out of using his best assets.  So I have to wonder if you're trying to commit suicide-by-Clanner, or just trying to get some revenge on your mom for not even knowing you existed until you were almost eighteen? Did you even think about what it would do to Ruth and Morris?"

They were suddenly back in the O.R.

"They-" Karen began to say.

"They loved you. Christ, do you know what I would have given for parents. Who loved and supported me like the Finklesteins did for you? My Father couldn't look at me, and my mother shot me."  Elizabeth scolded,  "Look at this-they're pulling bone splinters out of your chest, Karen, you collapsed because you were bleeding out into your chest cavity and it was smothering your heart and lungs!"

"You don't know what to say. So let me say it for you-you bought into the legend didn't you? Everyone forgets the bad parts of it, Karen." Elizabeth laid a cold hand on her, and she felt it.  "You're not me. Heck, the me you knew about? Even I wasn't me, not in that way."

"Wh-why you?" Karen finally gasped out.

"Because your image of me is a hell of a lot more complete than it is of Sharon."  Elizabeth's...image...said.  "A little insight from inside you, kid.  A shade to tell you what you better ****** listen to.  Everyone has limits, you were fortunate enough to find yours without outright dying.  Mark it, don't do something so ****** bone-headed again.  Our family-we never made it on being stronger or tougher than everyone else.  we did it on using our brains instead of our fantastic physiques. To solve our problems...oh look, they've stopped feeding the anesthesia.  Time for me to clock out.  We'll talk next jump, okay?"

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